It’s 4 AM when it begins. It’s my mind. My heart. They’re awake. Both of them. Wide awake. Again. Processing. Remembering. Pondering. Aching. Heavy. Burdened.
So many of my loves are weighed down. Not my direct family, but still my loves. God brought them to me. He gave them to me to love. Our stories are now interwoven. We’re connected. We bear each other’s burdens. That’s how we do it.
That’s how it’s done.
So many have expressed pain. I’ve listened to it, read about it, witnessed it for myself. For some reason, at 4 AM, they all came to my mind. The stories. The faces. At 4 AM, they are with me.
Every one of them.
All very different situations. But all are in shock. They’re absolutely reeling. Utterly and completely thrown.
Some have been under tremendous pressure. It just kept building. They dreaded what was coming. They felt it looming. The air was filled with it. That pressure. It’s palpable. It’s consuming. It’s ugly. They saw where it was leading. It just kept building. They’d hoped they were wrong. Oh, please be wrong.
They were helpless to stop it.
Some have been carrying the ugly around for decades. Its ripple effect just never ends. A stench permeates everything to the point where nothing ever feels right. Nothing. They can never quite stand straight. Or move forward. They try. They really do. But they stumble. The weight returns. It wraps around them. Heavy. That faithful friend.
That cold, damp isolating blanket.
Some had absolutely no idea. They didn’t feel it coming. Not at all. Never thought it would. Or that it even could. Not to them. Life was good. Awesome, in fact. They’d been cruising. Laughing. Weightless. Blameless. Blissfully clueless.
Status always, always remaining ever so beautifully quo.
But none of that matters now. Not any of it. They’ve all been hit somehow. Blindsided. They’re doubled over. Shell-shocked. Sucker punched.
The unthinkable. It’s happened. It happens to all of us at some point. It doesn’t matter what. It doesn’t matter how. But it’s happened. It really happened. What’s left?
A giant hole.
You can’t believe it.
You get angry.
You talk about it.
You don’t talk about it.
But, that hole. It won’t go away. You can’t unsee it. You can’t blink it away. No matter what, it won’t go away. It’s always there. It’s ugly. That hole.
It can’t be undone.
So you keep moving. You don’t stay there. Not near that hole. You push forward. You press on. Just keep moving. Keep reaching. Keep hoping.
That hole. It’s changed you. It’s changed everything.
That hole. It teaches us. Grows us. Compels us. Reminds us.
We cry. But we love harder. We wish it could be different. But we learn from it. We teach from it.
Yes, we teach from it.
That hole. We want to avoid it. We all do. Please … just let us avoid it. But we can’t. We all have one at some point. We all do.
That hole feels ugly. It feels empty. It seems pointless. But it’s not. It’s not meaningless. It has purpose.
That hole. It’s filled with hope. There’s always hope. God is in that hole. He’s there. Arms wide open. He’s doing something. He is. He’s making beauty. True, absolute, stunning beauty. In that hole. Yes, even in that hole.
Especially in that hole.
This is what pain leaves behind. The shock, the fear, the loss, the disappointment, the weight, the loneliness. They leave a great cavernous, disgusting hole.
Maybe it’s there gaping wide open.
Maybe it’s been patched up.
Either way, you can’t unsee it.
You can’t make it not have happened.
It’s just there.
So, what do we do with it? Do we bury it? Run from it? Embrace it? Wallow in it?
Maybe we get out of bed at 4 AM.
Maybe we write about it.
Maybe the words just pour out.
Maybe we pray for the people who will read it.
Maybe we hope it helps them somehow.
Maybe they’ll press forward.
Maybe they’ll start to heal.
Maybe they’ll find the beauty in their own hole.
Yes … maybe they’ll see God there.
Thanks for growing with me.
This song by Jason Gray pretty much says it all … “Even this will be made beautiful.” One of my favorites … so peaceful … so healing. Give it a listen and see.
“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)
” … we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope …” (Romans 5: 3-4)